I retrace the lines of your handwritten letters
and imagine you once sitting there

I see what you saw as the ink flows cursively
from your heart, to your head, to your hand, to the paper,
now yellow and cracked where your fingers run the length
of the folded seams; it seems only yesterday or a lifetime ago

a small water stain outside the margin, 
perhaps a drip from a teacup that day
that missed your lips and fell, to be absorbed

or maybe a tear

I wish I'd saved the envelope
that held the missive close in hand,
the flap and stamp that touched your tongue,
a return address where no one lives today

at least no one I know

cc: Chagall 2021